ALL-IRELAND SFC RD4 QUALIFIER:
Cork v Galway
When it comes to the Cork senior football side, the outside view always seems to be of a half-empty glass.
Take the contrasting reactions between the two Munster finals earlier this month. In the hurling against Limerick, Cork were level at half-time but lost by nine points while the footballers almost reeled in a seven-point deficit against Kerry and lost by two.
By any objective rating system, Kerry in football would currently be ranked higher than Limerick in hurling, but the footballers drew a greater ire in the post-match discussions. Tomorrow in Croke Park, they aim to get back on track against Galway, and Eoin Cadogan admits the external criticism can grate after a while.
“If we were beaten by nine or 10 points and showed no bit of fight, you’d be annoyed,” he said.
“At the end of the day, this is a hobby, there are reporters out there getting paid to give their opinions, which is fine, but this is supposed to be enjoyable too.
“We didn’t go down to Killarney and say, ‘Let’s go down by seven or eight points in the first half and have a bit of fun in the second half’.
“It’s not like we were going down to Killarney and Kerry wanted to lie down, it was their back garden, they didn’t want to lose their winning run that they have and they played particularly well.”
Much of the debate regarding the Munster final stemmed from the similarities between that and the game in Killarney two years ago, when a second period fightback also fell short. To draw comparisons is a case of being selective, in Cadogan’s view.
“I know it was similar to two years ago, but it wasn’t similar to last year, where we won,” he said.
“Do you just pick up on the fact that it happened two years ago in Killarney? There are a lot of different factors, we just probably under-performed on the day and we’re disappointed with that but we can work on things and move forward.”
For Cadogan, his half-time substitution after a first-half ankle injury led to him playing poorly meant personal disappointment. Perspective is not too hard to find, however.
“It was disappointing personally to have to leave the field and not be able to right some of the wrongs which went my way on the day,” he said.
“With injuries and stuff like that, you just have to get up and get on with it. Colm O’Neill epitomises the types of attitude you need, he’s out for the rest of the year with a cruciate injury but he’s down at training putting in huge work to get back for year.
“I’m not going to cry in a corner about going over on my ankle below in Killarney, we have another chance at it.”
Should he have signalled to the bench to come off straight away?
“You’re playing below in Killarney, there’s nearly 40,000 people there, it’s championship,” he said.
“You go over on your ankle, sometimes you’ll run it off but this wasn’t one of those times. I thought I could but I didn’t, that’s the bottom line. I’d be fairly pissed with a poor performance, but the question is are you going to complain about it or are you going to try and learn from it?”
That attitude is something which Cadogan aims to put into practice in his current college course, a Setanta College BA in strength and conditioning.
“When you’re putting such an emphasis on yourself personally,” he said, “on how you train and how you prepare, I decided what better way to earn a living than to help players prepare and maybe get work in a professional environment?”
With sport being such a central part of his life, it’s no surprise that there is a need to get away from things every now and then too. After the All Star trip to New York last winter, Cadogan continued on to Australia, and revelled in just being a person rather than a footballer.
“It was a good break,” he said. “I trained extremely hard but in saying that I was switched off too.
“There was nobody tapping you on the shoulder asking about the last match or the next match. You’re just a normal Joe Soap walking among thousands of people around Sydney Harbour.
“That’s good too, to be able to get away from that.”
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